Interview by Steven Yatsko
Since her arrival onto the scene Vanessa Moody’s fad defying brand of eye-appeal has grabbed her repeat audiences with fashion big wigs like Steven Meisel, Karl Lagerfeld and Alexander Wang, to name only a few. That’s an auspicious start in an industry with a penchant for flash flood-like model obsessions. The Texan model’s versatility has struck lastings chords with the fickle casting powers that be–and possessing that kind of assured shelf-life has become an increasingly difficult feat in modern modeling. It’s no further a stretch for her to embody the luxe campaign girl or the edgy editorial muse as it is for her to smolder down the runways for Chanel, Givenchy and Dior. After speaking with the down-home beauty, it’s apparent she’s only begun to leave her sample-sized footprint. Here, she is photographed refreshingly pared down by Nicholas Ong exclusively for Models.com.
How did your modeling career begin?
For me, it started when everyone told me growing up to get into modeling. In the South it’s not really you should get into modeling because you’re pretty, it’s because you should get into it because you’re tall. My dad finally convinced me to go into an agency–he found the Campbell Agency in Texas and I signed with them that day. I went in there in jeans and a T-shirt and everyone else was wearing heels and makeup, so it was a big deal for me. A couple of months later I met with Dana from Women and did videos. They wanted to meet me in New York and to meet with different people. I realized that Women was my family here so I signed with them.
What’s the most Texas thing about you?
I say “Ya’ll”. I always get steak or hamburgers. Well, not always, but generally. I would say my diet is very Texan.
Do you still feel like there is still some unknown left for you?
I think there is tons of unknown out there. I don’t think anyone ever figures it all out. Still any shoot or anything I go to, you’re always meeting new people, even if it’s a group you know there are always new people coming in. I love being able to travel to different places and work with different people, too.
Do you ever get anxiety before going to shoot?
Yes. I still do. Especially if it’s a shoot you’ve been waiting to do for so long or people you’ve wanted to work with or even if it’s just a new shoot with new people. There are different types of anxiety, but it’s always exciting anxiety. Even before a show and you’re about to walk out–it’s: “Do I remember how to walk?”
Just over the past two years so much has happened – have you changed at all?
I feel like I’ve gotten more comfortable with myself, gotten more comfortable making friends and traveling to places where you don’t know anybody. You just have to throw yourself into it. So I feel like I’ve changed in a positive way like that. I never really had problems growing up making friends. If I went to a book fair with my family I would just go up to other kids who looked my age and hang out with them the rest of the day. So I was that weird kid. But on the job side it’s a lot more…you have more pressure behind it and more stress. I feel like I don’t get that stress anymore. It’s more like excitement.
A less serious question, an unforgettable shoot that you’ve been on? Worst or best…
I haven’t had any shoots that have been remarkably bad. My most memorable shoot, I’m going to say is my Alexander Wang campaign that I did. We went out to Brooklyn in the early hours and went to a convent. I had met everyone previously at the shoot, but it was my first season so I didn’t really know them yet. Everyone knew everyone except me. It was a great shoot and it was my first shoot with the whole group and seeing how everything was done. I’m going to say that was the my most memorable.
Has anyone in particular encouraged, or inspired you..maybe a photographer, a stylist, or maybe another model?
I’m going to say the most encouraging person I’ve had has been my dad. He convinced me to get into the industry because he thought it would be something that I would enjoy and be good at. When I first came to New York, even though he was taking care of my siblings and other stuff, he was the one who tried his best to make sure I never had problems. During the roughest seasons during fashion week he flew to Paris last second to be there.
Has he started learning about the fashion industry through you?
He does a little bit. It’s hard to understand if you’re outside of it. But he does understand some now. He is learning.
What about someone within the industry?
Working with Meisel was amazing. He shot my very first cover. It was with a group. He was the first person who really showed me how to learn yourself, learn the way you model and learn angles and shapes. With his team, that’s how I got started getting interested in lighting and all those aspects. The first shoot I did with him he had me watch what the other girls were doing and would tell me what to do and what not do. That was one of the best experiences you can have to start with. I’m still learning.
How do you deal with always being on call?
I’m fine with it. I always had nightmares in high school about what I was going to do after school. I found this even before I was done when I started doing it. I love being able to work weird hours and travel everywhere. I mean even during the most stressful times during fashion week when I’m not sleeping it’s still something I want to do and something I enjoy.
Do you find modeling is a luxury?
Yes. Because I always had nightmares about being a little cubicle in a basement from 9-5 or working at like a restaurant. I was a waitress and you do get tired of the food after a while.
Photography: Nicholas Ong
Model Vanessa Moody
Styling Coquito Cassibba
Makeup Cyndle Komarovski (Honey Artists)
Hair Cecilia Romero (The Wall Group)
Manicure: Kelly B (De Facto)